Conference proceedings – 2016


Taj Palace, New Delhi


12-14 September 2016

Great rivers of the world: management for shared benefits

Managing our great rivers to meet the needs of the global population is one of the key challenges of the 21st century. With an overarching theme of ‘Great rivers of the world: Management for shared benefits’, the 2016 Riversymposium tackled some of the world’s most pressing river basin management issues. The theme explored the challenges many countries are facing in their quest to effectively balance competing demands for freshwater resources—including urban expansion, industrialisation, power generation, irrigation and domestic use. Productive, collaborative and urgent discussion on this topic will mitigate potentially disastrous outcomes, including regional tension, environmental migration and low economic growth. The program incorporated a range of topics and perspectives from different parts of the world, with dedicated exploration of the unique challenges in the Greater Himalaya.


Keynote speakers


+ sessions






Social events

Women and Water

Sunday, 11 September (PM)

Understanding gender roles is important in managing the world’s water, recognised by the United Nations and proven to result in more efficient water management. In the developing world, women are often the principal water managers at the family level—but have been frequently excluded from high-level decision. Women and Water provides a forum for perspectives on the significance of rivers and waters to gender and culture, recognising women as agents of change and plan for a more equitable water future.

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Riversymposium Welcome reception

Monday, 12 September (PM)

The Riversymposium welcome reception offers the change to connect with delegates from around the world in a relaxed social setting. After the conclusion of sessions on day one, join fellow delegates for an informal and warm welcome over food and beverages.

Riverprize Gala Dinner

Tuesday, 13 September (PM)

Riverprize is a prominent environmental award giving recognition to those who have developed and implemented outstanding, visionary and sustainable programs in river management and restoration. The Riverprize Gala Dinner is the highlight of the Riversymposium social program, bringing award finalists, conference delegates, IRF partners and VIPs together for a night of networking, entertainment, food and drinks—and, of course, the announcement of the 2016 International Riverprize winner, Emerging River Professional Award Winner and Vera Thiess Fellow.

Study tours

Yamuna: healthy rivers, healthy villages

Date: 15 September 2016
Departs: New Delhi

The Yamuna is the longest tributary of the Ganges, covering 40.2% of the entire basin. Along it are dozens of diverse river communities, who rely on the Yamuna for irrigation, religious significance, bathing and more. Despite the river’s high pollution levels, the government of India has announced plans to rebuild and repair its sewage system and the drains that empty into the river. Delegates will visit the Somb-Thapana river catchment and gain valuable education on Indian river systems, with emphasis on communities’ river restoration work through concerted conservation efforts and catchment restoration plans.


The International RiverFoundation presented two prestigious awards at the Riverprize Gala Dinner in conjunction with the 2016 International Riversymposium: the Emerging River Professional Award and the Thiess International Riverprize.

Riverprize is the world’s most prestigious river award, recognising, rewarding and supporting outstanding, visionary and sustainable programs in river management—and the Emerging River Professional Award (ERPA) recognises and fosters those in the early stages of their careers in rivers who have demonstrated innovation, excellence and leadership in river, basin or river-dependent community management.

The Vera Thiess Fellowship for 2016-17 will also be formally awarded.


RiverExpo was introduced to Riversymposium in 2014 and is a modern new take on the traditional trade exhibition, enabling all groups with services, products or ideas to meet and network with a diverse global audience—from river managers to policy developers, scientists, consultants, students, NGOs, indigenous and community organisations and business and industry representatives. The RiverExpo space incorporates art, culture and interactive activities.

Stay up to date!

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